Not good weather for ducks

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The plan was to shelter in hides either at Marshside or Martin Mere today after I’d picked up Neill and Trops.
Conditions were bracing – at least a Force 100 SWly with driving rain in quite staggering proportions, so the obvious thing to do was check out the Marine Lake to see what had blown in.
Unfortunately the weather was too bonkers to see much, apart from a GBB killing a Coot (I wasn’t expecting that) and a colour ringed Herring Gull (T:96J).

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I drove round to Marshside and we staggered against the wind down to Nels to get out of the hooley.
Most birds were keeping low – a passing Peregrine trying to head south was going backwards over the golf course, but a female Goosander going south lower down fared better at about 1230 – my first at the old patch for quite a while, I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up on the Marine Lake.
Trops picked up no fewer than 6 Grey Plover hunkering down with the Curlew and Blackwits at the back of Marshside One, but then the rain really started to get heavy and visibility from the hide deteriorated a bit:

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As the above picture shows.
By the time we got out of Nels the tide had completely covered the outer marsh, so we motored up to Crossens and checked the floods – stacks of wader, especially Oystercatchers, but Redshank, Dunlin, Golden Plover, Curlew, Rock Pipit, gulls and Skylarks too, shame it was too wild to get a steady view of anything.

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With the light fading we pushed on towards Banks and Hesketh Bank, finding one of the Great White Egrets cowering in the corner of a field on the Old Hollows Farm bend, while a herd of about 70 Whoopers off Guide Road seemed to have a Bewick’s or two among ’em, but they kept disappearing amongst the sprouts, wind and rain…there will be easier days to watch ’em this winter no doubt.
Flocks of Fieldfare and Starling on the ploughed fields just north of Banks.
Fairly quiet on the coast earlier this week, with not much time to get any birding done in the face of a beserker work load, but the Caspian Gull floated by the office at Ainsdale a few times, and a female Sparrowhawk was working the frontal dunes hard for a day or two before conditions got too wild – I hope the Black Redstart kept its head down.
70+ Twite between Southport Pier and Fairways on Wednesday, with Raven and Marsh Harrier on Crossens Outer the same day.
A Peacock butterfly was on the wing at the end of Dawlish Drive at Marshside on Friday.

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4 thoughts on “Not good weather for ducks

  1. At this time of year the sky comes alive at dusk at the Leighton Moss RSPB reserve, as enormous flocks of starlings can be seen putting on a spectacular aerial display above the reedbed.
    The birds fly in from all directions and turn the sky black, as they join together en-masse to settle down to roost for the night. If the conditions are right, they can be seen wheeling, turning and swooping in unison, appearing like a shoal of fish. Around 10,000 starlings have returned to Leighton Moss so far and numbers have been known to grow up to 100,000 some years. These ‘murmurations’ usually continue until Christmas, but in colder years have occured through to February and March.
    To find out more about events and wildlife sightings at Leighton Moss, visit http://www.rspb.org.uk/leightonmoss for details.

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  2. It looks like the next break in this unsettled spell of weather will be on Friday. The next volunteer Buckthorn Bash will therefore take place on Friday 4th December, 1.45 to 3.45pm, meeting at Sands Lake carpark, opposite Pontins at Ainsdale-on-Sea (SD301128). Please note the early time to take account of the light.
    It should be dry with some sun and reasonably mild.
    I hope to borrow a number of long-handled loppers from Sefton Coast & Countryside but bring loppers or secateurs if you have them. Also, don’t forget thick gloves.
    This may be the last of the organised bashes this year so please come if you can and, if possible, bring a friend or relative. So far, an impressive total of 20 people have taken part in one or more events this year.
    Phil.

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